This isn’t a thought from the bathroom but it is a thought that is bothering me so I will share it. I’m sat here watching Serenity and a few things occur to me, reminding me of issues I have with science fiction in general, and science fiction on TV and in films in particular. The first issue is the subject of this blog, and that is: people in science fiction don’t care about history. This statement of observation doesn’t sit well with me. People in the real world care about history. We have always look back as much as we look sideways and forwards. People in science fiction look mostly sideways and forwards. Consider how many hours we may spend our Sundays wondering around National Trust properties, watching The Antiques Roadshow, or browsing through old photographs or fingering fossils, crystals or old pots handed down from our father’s father’s father.
Why don’t people in science fiction films set in the future have the same urges? How come they don’t adorn their mantlepieces with bits of old pottery? Most people fill their homes with relics of their personal history and objects of previous histories. Why do you not see people in science fiction films wearing vintage clothing? Why is it that they don’t like watching Downton Abbey between fighting space battles and having wars with the Kardashians?
I don’t think that this is realistic. People have always looked back to the past, fondly or with fear, and collected objects of history or historical significance. We like to have these old things around us. They comfort us. But in space, there is no sign of the past and this makes me feel uneasy. Where are all the antiques?
Apparently there are two exceptions to my observation. Firstly, Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek Deep Space Nine I’m told kept a collection of old things he occasionally liked to admire. Secondly, the film Planet of the Apes (both versions of which I have seen) was all about harking back to the past even though it was set on a different planet. I do concede on point one, but not point two. If you look at the strict definition of ‘science fiction’ it means ‘fiction that uses science to create a story’. Despite what most people may think, it doesn’t have to be set on a spaceship (and doesn’t have to be set in the future either for that matter).
My issue is with proper spacy science fiction and it is yet to be resolved.